Jan 20, 2022: Ghislaine Maxwell has formally requested a new trial less than a month after shewas convicted of sex trafficking.
Maxwell’s lawyers raised concern about a juror’s possible failure to disclose before the trial that he was sexually abused as a child.
The 60 year old British socialite was convicted on December 29 on five counts of sex trafficking and recruiting and preparing teenage girls for sexual encounters with the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to 65 years in prison.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Allison J. Nathan Wednesday, Maxwell’s attorney, Bobby Sternheim, said the new trial had been filed under seal and requested that all submissions related to “Juror No. 50 remain under seal until the Court rules”.
The motion for a new trial had been promised by Maxwell’s lawyers, who had raised concerns about media interviews following the verdict in which the juror said he had been sexually abused as a child.
A motion for a new trial had been promised by Maxwell’s lawyers, who had raised concerns about media interviews following the verdict in which the juror said he had been sexually abused as a child.
Maxwell’s lawyers said there were “incontrovertible grounds” for a new trial after the jury this month, after a juror who asked to be identified by his first and middle name, Scotty David, told Reuters and other news outlets that he had been abused as a child.
The anonymous juror said in interviews that his experience helped him convince some jurors that a victim’s imperfect memory of sex abuse does not mean it did not happen. Prosecutors said the juror asserted that he “flew through” the questionnaire and did not recall being asked if he had been a victim of sex abuse.
Maxwell has maintained her innocence, and her family has promised to appeal her sentence. Her lawyers strongly opposed the charges against her during the trial, arguing that she was being used as a scapegoat by prosecutors in the run-up to the 2019 trial. Her defence team says the prosecution is determined to hold someone accountable for Epstein’s crimes after the financier and convicted sex offender committed suicide while awaiting trial in 2019.
Meanwhile, legal experts who talked to Reuters said there is no guarantee a new trial even if the juror did not disclose his abuse on the questionnaire, noting that cases of juror dishonesty that led to verdicts being overturned generally involved jurors who deliberately lied in order to be selected.
Judge Nathan last week scheduled Maxwell’s sentencing hearing for June 28.
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